Air India joins Star Alliance group, revenues likely to rise

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complete privatization of the loss making airline. However, "the biggest party-pooper is India’s humiliating downgrade to Category II by Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Air India cannot add flights to the US or enter into code-share with US airlines. It therefore would need to terminate flights in EU or Far East and transfer its US-bound passengers to Star members there. MoCA and DGCA should ensure India gets it Category rating back at the earliest”, Dubey added

Jeffrey Goh, Star Alliance, chief operating officer, said, “We restarted the re-integration with Air India in December last year and just half a year later we are ready to confirm the official joining date. We are pleased to be providing our existing customers improved access to a region which includes the world’s fifth largest domestic aviation market”.

Bringing Air India into the equation not only adds more airports but also increases the Alliances market share in India to 30 per cent. Globally, passengers will further benefit from a wider choice on routes connecting North America, Europe, Asia and Australia via the Indian Subcontinent. In total the Star Alliance network will grow to 27 member airlines, offering more than 18,500 daily flights serving 1,316 destinations in 192 countries.

Reciprocal frequent flyer benefits between Air India’s Flying Returns programme and those of the existing member carriers will also become effective on July 11, 2014. This will provide customers with more options in earning and redeeming, upgrading and obtaining Star Alliance Gold status. Overall, the Star Alliance network presently offers more than 18,000 daily flights to 1,269 airports in 193 countries.

The national carrier was originally accepted as a future member of Star Alliance in December, 2007, but the integration process was suspended in July, 2011, to allow Air India to focus on completing its merger with Indian Airlines before fully integrating it into the alliance network.

jharnamazumdar@mydigitalfc.com

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